Phil Steele is renowned for his popular and detailed preseason college football magazine, the publication of which is a major milestone on the offseason calendar.
Now as we inch closer to football season, Steele is making his public predictions, and that includes his projection for the four-team College Football Playoff.
“I’ve got Ohio State making the playoff, Alabama making the playoff, Georgia making the playoff, and Clemson making the playoff,” Steele said on 92.9 FM.
“I think if you look at their rosters overall due to what we just talked about, the recruiting classes that they brought in over the last five years have really got them the most talented teams.”
Steele’s top four teams run in line with most projections, which forecast the top two SEC teams making the final four, in addition to the likely champions from the Big Ten and ACC.
Alabama. No real debate here as the Crimson Tide once again come into the season armed with the nation’s premier roster, led by Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young at quarterback and linebacker Will Anderson, arguably the single best player in the sport.
Georgia. The overwhelming favorite in the SEC East, the reigning national champions have worked to do replacing its historic defense, but look ahead to a very winnable schedule aside from the Week 1 opener against Oregon.
Ohio State. This offense ranked No. 1 in college football a year ago and returns its core, but watch how the Buckeyes’ defense, the team’s Achilles heel last season, improves under new coordinator Jim Knowles.
Clemson. For the first time in six years, the Tigers didn’t win the ACC or make the College Football Playoff, finishing 10-3. And they’ll have some competition against the likes of Wake, NC State, Miami, and a trip to Notre Dame.
Steele is also correct about these teams lapping the competition on the recruiting trail.
Alabama led the way in the 2021 college football recruiting cycle, inking the No. 1 class, followed by No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Georgia, and No. 4 Clemson.
Georgia topped the 2020 recruiting rankings, followed by Alabama and Clemson, with Ohio State placing fifth behind LSU.
Alabama and Georgia led the way in 2019, as did Georgia and Ohio State in 2018. Alabama ranked No. 1 in 2017 with Ohio State and Georgia placing second and third, respectively.
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